I truly enjoy holiday gift-giving. But it is, admittedly, difficult to identify fitting gifts for many adults – doctors or not. This article is meant for anyone with a physician or other medical professional in their family or close circle of friends. It also may be helpful for doctors being asked what they want, but who need some ideas. These are some of what I think are the best gift ideas for doctors this holiday season.
Each gift idea addresses a physician’s need or challenge, such as preventing burnout or staying healthy despite a hectic work schedule. These are gifts that will be used and appreciated! And it will be clear that you’re gifting for all the right reasons.
Un-disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this article. These are honest recommendations based on my own interests as a physician and personal experience working in the medical field.
Gifts to keep them feeling fulfilled
Hospitals, health insurers, professional associations, and doctors themselves are paying close attention to physician burnout. Burnout is threatening our medical workforce. You can help prevent burnout in the physician in your life with a DIY personalized gift box geared toward reducing work-related stress, raising their awareness of burnout symptoms, and maintaining personal identity.
Whether your loved one is a meditation newbie or guru, start with an Apple gift card for them to purchase The Mindfulness App. (Or, if it’s your spouse, just commandeer their phone and install it for them.)
Add a book to your burnout prevention gift package, such as:
- The Art of Saying No: How to Stand Your Ground, Reclaim Your Energy, and Refuse to be Taken for Granted or
- Stop Physician Burnout: What to Do When Working Harder Isn’t Working
This sticker will remind them to take a deep breath.
This notebook will make them smile while attending another meeting that should have been an email.
Finally, depending on their sense of humor, you might finish off your burnout gift box with a Dammit Doll.
Gifts to keep them fully charged
Most physicians rely on electronics to get their work done more than they rely on a stethoscope or reflex hammer. The doctor in your life could probably use a more reliable way to stay on top of things while running between clinics, offices, meetings, classrooms. Portable chargers make excellent gifts for doctors.
For a portable cell phone charger, I recommend one of the many options from RAVPower, such as the Prime 3-Port Power Bank.
Laptops can be charged on-the-go, too! An AC Outlet Portable Laptop Power Bank saved me once when my laptop battery petered out 10 minutes before an important presentation. It has also allowed me to get work done while traveling without worrying about how much battery I have left.
Gifts to keep their feet feeling good
Surgeons, hospitalists, and any other doctors who are on their feet much of the day rely on comfortable, supportive shoes. There’s a good chance the doctor you’re buying a gift for is still wearing the Dansko clogs he bought as a third-year medical student. It’s time for an upgrade.
Nike just announced the upcoming release of the Air Zoom Pulse – a shoe designed specifically for clinicians. They have cushioning and traction meant to address long shifts in a hospital, as well as a coated toe box to protect against spills.
Gifts to maintain their work-life balance
You might be shopping for a doctor who seems to have everything. Or for one who says she really doesn’t want anything. In either case, gifting an experience – rather than a tangible thing – is the way to go.
Plan out an activity that’s unrelated to medicine, but more meaningful than a simple dinner out or show ticket.
I recently took a cupcake decorating class and I had a blast. I don’t recall thinking about work for even a minute of the two-hour class. Moreover, I went into the class with zero cupcake decorating skill, and now I have slightly more than zero cupcake decorating skill.
The result of my recent experience learning how to decorate succulent cupcakes. Such fun and so delicious.
A good place to start to get ideas for this type of gift for doctors is Airbnb Experiences.
An added bonus of experience gifts is that it’s highly likely that you, as the gift-giver, will be invited to participate in the experience.
Gifts for doctors to keep them warm
Central air conditioning is a blessing but is often overused. Sitting in a chilly office or conference room can require an extra layer. Every doctor should have a warm sweater or cardigan to keep at their office that’s cozy, but business-y enough for the workplace.
Gifts to relax their weary eyes
Most doctors spend more time looking at screens than at their patients. Save their strained eyes with a pair of blue light-filtering and glare-eliminating glasses. Felix Gray has a great selection.
Gifts to keep them satiated
Having time during the workday to eat a substantial meal might be a rare occurrence for the doctor you’re buying a gift for. Snacks keep physicians going during long shifts. Riding on the coattails of the meal delivery service craze is a snack box delivery trend. Give a physician a subscription to a snack service to help them swap baked goods from the nurse’s station for healthy options.
Gifts to keep their bodies young
A doctor who’s always getting out of work too late to hit the gym can benefit from a way to get in some exercise during a free moment at the office. A set of extra-thick resistance bands and a removable doorway pullup bar can essentially replace a rack of dumbbells in a pinch. And a muscle roller stick helps loosen tight muscles.